It seems the government are starting to realise that AD plants using purpose grown crops like maize does not make sense and does not have the green benefits that they desire. Given that 32% of Crouchlands inputs are maize specifically grown and imported for the AD process, the following excerpts from the governments latest consultation (which aims to reduce subsidies to AD plants) puts a bit of a hole in any green or sustainable claims. It pretty much supports what we've been saying all along.
Excerpts from DECC AD FIT Subsidy Consultation - published 26 May 2016;
- AD installations that use crops tend instead to be at the more expensive end of the carbon cost effectiveness range
- It is also Government policy that the primary purpose of agricultural land should be for growing food. Data published at the end of 2015 suggests maize is increasingly being grown for AD installations
- In the core FITs Review Consultation in 2015, we highlighted concerns that the increased use of crops posed risks to Government aims for AD regarding objectives on waste management and low carbon energy. In order to maximise the benefits of payments to contribute to carbon budgets, we are proposing measures to reduce or eliminate support for new installations relying on crops as their primary feedstock.
-The RHI consultation proposes measures to restrict payments to generators making use of crops as part of their feedstock.
So there it is - growing maize or other crops for AD is not green nor sustainable and isn't helping to reduce carbon emissions - it's not just us saying it, but now the Department of Energy and Climate Change agree.
Of course that begs the question, "what would Crouchland use to replace 32% of their inputs?" More cows? Very unlikely as cow slurry is about the least effective generator of biomethane. How about food waste - yes much more likely, which is why they're asking the EA to include food waste in their new permit application. So as if we needed any more incentive to fight this plant - the thought of a full blown waste plant on our doorstep will focus our minds !